Growing up in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago, Jorge and Jessica Valdivia looked up to their older brother, Mauricio. To many, he was a larger-than-life personality known to light up the room with his jokes and pranks. To his siblings, he was the rock of the family who always took the time to let them know they were loved.
Jorge remembers one Christmas when his parents couldn’t afford presents and Mauricio surprised him with his first Transformer, which he still has.
In April 2020, Mauricio, 52, died from COVID-19. He left behind his wife, their two sons, and a huge void in the lives of those who loved him most. Jorge and Jessica came to StoryCorps to share their favorite memories of Mauricio and what he meant to them.
Top Photo: The Valdivia siblings, from left to right: Eliseo Jr., Mauricio, Jessica and Jorge. Courtesy of Jorge Valdivia.
Bottom Photo: Jorge Valdivia holds the Optimus Prime Transformer that his late brother Mauricio got him one Christmas when they were young. Courtesy of Jorge Valdivia.
Originally aired February 5, 2021 on NPR’s Morning Edition.